How to Develop a Daily Gap Analysis Manufacturing Process

How to Develop a Daily Gap Analysis Manufacturing Process

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 A few days ago, I described five reasons why daily gap analysis thinking was critical to manufacturing process improvement. 

You can find that article on my website by clicking here.

I received feedback from readers who agreed that daily gap analysis is critical, and they understood the need for data-driven problem identification, but they wanted to understand what a daily gap analysis routine looked like or how to develop a daily routine to identify gaps. 

Most productive and efficient manufacturing leaders have a daily routine for quickly identifying today’s priority issues, assigning the appropriate resources and determining interim actions to ensure that the same issue does not repeat. 

If you work for an organization that has an established daily financial management process for your manufacturing operation, you are ahead of the game.  You have the data you need to make solid decisions on priority problems.  There is still a personal management process that must be established but you are not starting at the beginning. 

If you work for an organization that looks at the business on a “macro” level, meaning overall performance is measured as a summary report annually or every quarter, the daily gap analysis routine will require more effort. 

Know that all organizations are different and require different approaches to a daily gap analysis process but in general, the following key points are needed to implement an effective problem identification process for manufacturing leadership.

  • A daily breakdown of key financial and operational metrics from the previous 24 hours is required.  What is measured, can be improved.
  • The financial and operational data should contain summary plant and detailed departmental breakdowns.  This will vary depending on the organizational structure.
  • The financial and operational data should be available early enough in the workday to allow time for problem identification and action to take place.
  • Ideally, the reporting format would be displayed to indicate the variance to target for key metrics and available to the leader to start their day.
  • Schedule a quick stand-up meeting with the appropriate team members to review variances and identify priority problems.  Assign actions for further drill down or interim measures. 
  • Implement a “walk” through to critical manufacturing departments to review the results at each location.  Focus on the overall priority problem and discuss with the area leadership.  NOTE:  Do not try to solve too many problems at one time.  Focus on the priority issue for the plant.
  • Repetitive problems should be identified and placed on an intermediate-term action list and managed through a project tracker.

A structure or process facilitates the gap analysis.  It’s up to the leader to develop the habit of daily gap analysis thinking. 

  • Use data (specifically variance to target) to identify priority problems.  Don’t speculate or be subjective when you focus your resources. 
  • Ask questions when your team identifies a problem.  Ensure that they are using data to drive decisions as well.
  • Train others to develop gap analysis thinking throughout the organization.  Reduce frustration by ensuring that everyone speaks the same language.

Do you want to know more about implementing a customized process that facilitates daily gap analysis within your leadership team?  Do you see a need for gap analysis training for your organization that will initiate a step change in performance?

If you are looking for a partner to work with you to develop your daily gap analysis process, please reach out to us.  At KM Shinn Consulting, LLC, we are focused on helping others by sharing what we have learned in 30 years of manufacturing and operational leadership.  Reach out to or check out our website at  Schedule a consultation, and we can discuss your current situation and how we can help.

KM Shinn Consulting is located in the Mountain West and serves clients throughout Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. 

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